CSI: Sittingbourne has partnered with Vinspired, the local arm of the national youth volunteering scheme, and is offering full and part time volunteer placements for a lab assistant and fund-raiser/market developer. If we’re able to get help in these areas we should be able to re-open, and keep open, the lab and exhibition for the remainder of the lease meaning we may be able to complete the rest of the site. As well as these benefits, Vinspired can also backdate and give future certificates and national recognition to all our 16-25 year old volunteers, which helps them with their CVs and job applications in these difficult times.
For more information about opportunities with CSI: Sittingbourne, and other projects, please take the time to visit the Vinspired website.
Filed under: news
Just one week to go until the most important conservation conference of the year… kind of.
‘CSI: Sittingbourne – The Value of Volunteers’ is to be presented at the Conservation Matters in Wales conference, ‘Conservation: Added Value’, at the Cynon Valley Museum and Gallery in Aberdare, South Wales. This is a one day conference organised by National Museum Wales, The Federation of Museums and Galleries of Wales and Cardiff University.
This will hopefully help to introduce some more people to the project who may not know about it. It will also be my first conference that I have spoken at. I don’t think imagining the audience naked will help with the nerves, but I’ll give it a go…
I shall post some photos and give a review next week as to how everything went and what the other presentations were about.
The museum has run a number of volunteer programmes during the past 8 years since its archive (LAARC) opened to the public in 2002. The current scheme, VIP (Volunteer Inclusion Programme), which has been funded by Renaissance London, has been running since 2008. However, the aim of all the programmes has been to help improve accessibility to the archives by employing the help of volunteers who update storage, such as repackaging, and documentation. The added values and benefits of this approach have been those of teaching new skills, engaging the public, and introducing conservation to a new generation, as well as simply completing the work much faster.
From October to December 2010 (OK, October has passed and this post is a bit behind!) the volunteer programme will be on display in the Museum galleries. VIP graduates will be there to interact with the public to explain the work involved in repackaging and documentation of collections.
As CSI: Sittingbourne is not open at the moment then you might like to pay a visit and have a look at this event instead, as well as the new galleries that opened a few months ago. The archaeological collections officers are supervising hour long sessions at the Clore Learning Centre in addition to the gallery demonstrations. Activities take place on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays until 10th December.
For more information about this event or any of the other volunteer programmes have a look at the links below.
Seeing the Google doodle today I see that x-rays are 115 years old today. Happy birthday x-rays!
X-rays can be really useful for conservators working with most any type of material, but particularly archaeological finds, and they have been used extensively during the work in the CSI: lab. You can read more about the use of x-rays in an earlier post. This post, however, is a gallery of just some of the x-rays that have been taken for objects in the lab – most are swords.
OK, the last one isn’t one of ours, but it’s pretty cool.
If you want to find out more about x-rays have a look at the links below.
Also, kind of related to x-rays and bones (…well bones at least), is Paul Evans’ blog ‘Osteography‘. I noticed this advertised in the corridor at university and it appears to be quite interesting, so well worth having a look at. Have a look also at his earlier project, ‘Origin 09‘.
Filed under: news
We will only be open on Fridays & Saturdays until further notice, but definitely through November 2010. We’d like to apologise for anyone planning to visit at different times.
Filed under: news, videos | Tags: Alice Roberts, BBC, Community, Digging for Britain
This has been mentioned briefly on this blog (…and should have had a bit more coverage at the time!) but CSI: Sittingbourne appeared on the four-part BBC2 series ‘Digging for Britain’ with Dr. Alice Roberts. It was a really great bit of coverage for the project and hopefully enligtened a few people to whats going on as well. We certainly had a lot more hits on this site and the lab and exhibition had a lot more visits too.
We’d all like to thank everyone involved in producing the show and providing such good coverage of the project, especially the fact that the lab was a main point of focus for the segment.
If you missed it on the TV then someone has kindly uploaded the full episode (…in six separate parts) onto youtube. The video is really good quality and is well worth a watch if you didn’t see it the first time round. I might even show my nan seeing as she fell asleep when it was on the first time…
A review from the Independent is available here.
Filed under: news | Tags: Alice Roberts, BBC, Community, Digging for Britain
Coming up on BBC2 in the next few weeks will be the appearance of CSI: Sittingbourne. Digging for Britain, hosted by Dr. Alice Roberts of Time Team, Coast, Extreme Archaeology and Wild Swimming fame, follows a year of archaeology in Britain, joining up the results of digs and investigations from all over the country.
Digging for Britain is on Thursday, 9pm on BBC2.
The lease for the premises of CSI: Sittingbourne (located in The Forum) has been extended by owners Tesco. If other funding can be gained then the CSI: lab should be around for at least another 6 months, enough time to complete the other half of the finds from the site. It also gives all those visitors that haven’t visited this project yet the chance to see for themselves what has been achieved.
CSI: Sittingbourne would like to thank everyone who has been involved or who has visited over the past year.
Filed under: news
Finally we have been featured in The Guardian!
The article, written by Maev Kennedy, was featured on Monday 16th August. It has provided a nice bit of publicity for the CSI: project and has sparked a bit of debate on the subject. Have a look at the comments here and add your two penneth!
You can read the article here.
Filed under: Community, news, People | Tags: Community, community project, interns, volunteers
The volunteers for this project have been of great help and have showed good progress so far. They have gained in confidence along the way and the results they are producing are brilliant. This section highlights the background and the type of people that are volunteering, or who have volunteered, in the past months.
We have 31 volunteers at the moment and the vast majority of these dedicate at least 4 hours per week – some manage to complete 2 sessions per week. At least a further 20 have been given training to work on these objects. Some have left to find employment or return to higher education, whereas other have left for other reasons. This may be due to a number of reasons – the work being too demanding, or finding the postures demanded of long hours at a microscope a bit too uncomfortable, or just that they felt they weren’t suited to the work. We still get regular requests from visitors asking to volunteer and more training sessions are planned for the future.
Miscellaneous Volunteer Information…
In order of magnitude, we have a mix of retired women and men, part-time working mums, fully employed people who come on days off, people recently made redundant/in-between jobs, recent university graduates, history students (aged 16-early 20s).
These people came from a range of previous professions – examples of previous work include biology teacher, sales rep, secretaries, historian, a former surgeon & nurse, and council and social workers (the latter discovered his employers give him 3 funded days per year for voluntary work – his time spent goes into a ‘Time Bank’, a wonderful scheme where volunteer skills can be swapped!)
These all amount to much more than ‘willing hands’ – they bring their own (and partners’/friends’) skills and knowledge to all parts of our project. Some have donated items for the lab and/or coffee room, and have advised on equipment procurement.
Conservation student interns from the Sorbonne, Cardiff University, West Dean and UCL have given weeks of their time to the project, and our Icon/HLF funded intern Katrina Redman has been brilliant at helping run the CSI Lab day to day.
How far have we got?
For the first phase of the project (the partly funded part), we have 62 graves with an average of 6 objects in each (1-30 finds being the actual range). We seem to have worked on the larger graves first, and have almost completed 30 graves, which equates to about 215 finds.
Of the 215 metal objects so far started, 60 have been completed and 155 started/almost finished. For the first month working hours were not recorded, but so far 1139 volunteer working hours have been counted for working on 120 objects, the majority of these archaeological iron with mineral preserved organic (MPOs) remains present. MPOs include bug casings, wood, straw, wool and linen.
There are 32 graves waiting to be started containing 89 objects: beads, flint and other finds are included in this count. If funding is secured for the second half of the site there will still be around 100 graves to complete. Hopefully this will be achieved as the project is valuable on so many levels, both for the local community and the profession.
Special thanks go to Canterbury Archaeological Trust, Sittingbourne Heritage Museum and of course Dana Goodburn-Brown. Further thanks go to Marston’s Brewery and Kent County Council, Heriatge Lottery Fund, as well as all the organisation, local businesses and volunteers/people who have dedicated their time and resources to the project.